ELKO — Jovahnna Anderson is spreading the gift of classical music.

The 23-year-old Miss Elko County titleholder recently earned a full tuition waiver to the University of Denver Lamont School of Music starting this fall.

Now, the 2008 Elko High School graduate is giving out a $500 Jovahnna Anderson Gift of Music Scholarship.

“It goes toward one deserving Elko High School senior pursuing a musical career,” Anderson said.

Anderson kicks off her platform of “Promoting the Opera-tunity of Classical Music” next week with a scholarship recital, featuring five Elko High School music students who are finalists for the scholarship.

“This is my community event as Miss Elko County,” she said. “It’s my jumping off point.”

The recital is at 6:30 p.m. April 26 at Calvary Baptist Church. Miss Elko County will perform her opera talent, followed by solo performances by each of the scholarship finalists: Scott Nisbet, Melissa Carter, Shauna Baumann, Aimee Grubaugh and Morgan Gailey.

The scholarship winner will be announced May 30 during the Elko High School awards ceremony.

Anderson coordinated the scholarship on her own.

“I had them submit an application,” she said. “They had to have at least a 3.0 GPA and two years of experience in Choraliers or the band.”

In addition, each applicant submitted a résumé and a 250-word essay about what music means to him or her.

General admission for the recital (taken at the door) is $10 and $5 for those ages 17 and younger. Funds will go toward the scholarship money, the event costs, and the Miss Elko County Scholarship Organization.

Anderson will be singing classical and folk songs from Spain.

“I want to emphasize the beauty of classical music,” she said.

Miss Elko County Scholarship Program coordinator Tera Hooiman said the event fulfills Miss Elko County’s required community service. Anderson’s event is unique from what some of the pageant winners have done in the past, she said.

“Elko doesn’t have a lot of that extreme culture like the big cities do,” Hooiman said.

Anderson just may have what it takes to go all the way in the Miss America competition.

“Miss America has got to be approachable, tangible, someone you can relate to, from 5-year-olds to old women,” Hooiman said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that Jovahnna has what it takes.”

January was Anderson’s first time competing in a beauty pageant. She will continue to the Miss Nevada competition June 14-15 in Las Vegas.

A musical career

Anderson has been singing her entire life, but picked up opera in only the past few years. Before college, she had participated in high school Choraliers for four years.

“Her dad (Scott Anderson) was probably a big part of giving feedback,” said her mother, Maria Anderson. “He would work with her with performances.”

As an opera singer through college, Anderson had to learn to sing in other languages.

“We have to take at least a year in the three main languages: Italian, German and French,” Anderson said.

Additionally, she sings in Spanish, Latin, Russian and Czech.

“I translate it so I know what I’m saying at all times,” Anderson said.

Anderson graduated from the University of Arizona in 2012 with a bachelor of music in vocal performance. Before returning to Elko recently, Anderson had been an intern with the Arizona Opera in Tucson.

Her experience with the opera brought her to more than 30 different elementary schools and 1,500 students in Arizona, teaching them about classical music. This in part inspired her current platform.

Along with the full tuition waiver at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music, she will receive a stipend for living expenses. The total value is estimated at around $100,000 while she earns a master’s of music in vocal performance, starting in September. The program is estimated to take two years.

After graduation, Anderson said she intends to pursue semi-professional young artist programs, and eventually contract with an opera company in the United States and internationally.


Updated at 1 p.m. April 17 with recital time at 6:30 p.m.


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